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The SNP MSP for Clydesdale, Aileen Campbell, is calling on Labour to clarify its position on the Small Business Bonus Scheme and the level of business rates,

after one of its MSPs suggested the Scottish Government should not have matched the rates in the UK.

When asked what Labour would cut to transform childcare within a fixed budget on Scotland Tonight this week, Labour shadow cabinet member Kezia Dugdale suggested removing funding from support for small businesses.

The suggestion from the Labour party could see 3,965 local businesses in South Lanarkshire lose support from the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Under the SNP Scotland has the most competitive business rates in the UK and the poundage - the level at which rates are set - has matched that of the rest of the UK since 2007.

In December Finance Secretary John Swinney confirmed that the Scottish Government would continue to match the rate in the rest of the UK for the rest of this parliament.

Under Labour from 2001-2007 rates were higher than in the rest of the UK costing small business ?900 million.

Commenting, Aileen Campbell MSP said:

"Labour has blundered head first into yet another nightmare scenario by suggesting it would cut the much-needed Small Business Bonus and set business rates higher than in the rest of the UK. As leader of her party, Johann Lamont must clarify if Labour plan to put up rates for Scotland’s businesses.

"Under the SNP, Scotland has the most comprehensive package of support for small businesses anywhere in the UK.

"Over 3,500 businesses in South Lanakrshire benefit from the Small Business Bonus Scheme and all Scottish businesses and their employees benefit from keeping rates competitive.

"This is helping keep small businesses afloat during this time of Westminster austerity.

"We know that under Labour higher business rates cost Scottish business ?900m between 2001 and 2007.

"The SNP has ensured rates in Scotland match the poundage in the UK and will do so for the rest of this parliament. It seems Labour now want to go back to the bad old days for small businesses and put Scotland’s firms at a real disadvantage.

"Only hours before Kezia’s comments, Labour health front bencher MSP Neil Findlay told parliament that taxes should be consistent across the UK. What do they stand for?

"Johann Lamont must be clear - does Labour agree that business rates in Scotland should match those in the rest of the UK, or would they put rates up? Does Labour support the small business bonus scheme or would they abolish this essential help for small businesses?

"Labour’s chaotic actions show once again that only the powers of independence offer us the chance to build on this to make a truly transformational change."

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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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